It’s important for women to take note that there are diseases that have proven to be a problem for us, especially. With this information we can be more informed and take a proactive approach on the status of our health. The article on Web MD about women’s health said it perfectly when they quoted Saralyn Mark, MD saying that “women need to work in partnership with their doctors by finding out their family medical history, educating themselves on health issues, and paying attention to their bodies.” In an effort to help you stay informed we thought we would bullet point some of the key things you need to know about the top 5 diseases for women.

1.       Heart Disease: The number one killer of any disease in the United States for not just women but men too is heart disease.

Signs of Heart Disease:  chest pain, jaw pain, shoulder ache, nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath

Risk Factors: Age, heredity, smoking, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity/overweight, diabetes.

2.       Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is not just found in women, however it is more common in women and is the number one most common death causing cancer for women.

Signs of Breast Cancer: Some symptoms (but definitely not limited to) breast cancer are: Lumps in your chest, abnormal mammogram, itchy chest, dimples in chest, orange appearance of skin on chest,  swollen breast that doesn’t change around menstrual cycle, and red or blotch breasts.

Risk Factors: Age, Genes, family history, abnormal breast biopsy (early on), prior chest radiation, medication use (ie, DES), over use of alcohol, obesity.

3.       Osteoporosis:  According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the 44 million Americans with osteoporosis 68% of them are women. The sad thing here is that it is a very preventable disease. Prepare your body for having strong bones by always taking in enough calcium and doing activities/exercising that force weight on your body.

Signs of Osteoporosis: Number one sign is easily fractured bones but also height loss, increasing stooping, and joint or muscle aches.

Risk Factors: Age, high levels of serum calcium in a blood test, vitamin D deficiency, resting pulse greater than 80, BMD results of -2.5 or less, low calcium intake, anorexia, sex hormones (infrequent menstrual cycle or early menopause), smoking, excessive alcohol, sedentary lifestyle.

4.       Depression: Depression is actually a huge issue in the United States for women. About 12 million women struggle with depression each year.

Signs of Depression: irregular/excessive/lack of sleep, can’t concentrate,

Hopeless or helplessness, can’t control negative thoughts, loss of appétit or can’t stop eating, irritable, short tempered, aggressive, increased drinking, thoughts of life not worth living, reckless behavior, etc.

Risk Factors Associated with Depression:  Family history, serious chronic illness, marital problems, substance abuse, stress, disease that trigger depression, history of physical or sexual abuse, eating disorders, worry and any other life stressor.

5.       Autoimmune Diseases: This one is little more complicated to spell out as there are so many auto immune diseases to be considered. They include disease such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, and many more.  Because there are so many of them it would be hard to details out the signs and risks factors for each. It’s important to know a little bit about them. Women’s health is a great resource on auto immune diseases.

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